If you’d asked me to guess the secret ingredient in Oprah’s lead here before I saw the poll, I would have said it was a no-brainer — the gender gap. Trump surely leads big with men while Oprah leads big big big among women. As it turns out, that’s … not exactly true:
Hillary won women last year by 13 points. Oprah does improve on that, but the killer for Trump is his narrow lead among men. He won that group against Clinton by 11; here his lead is down to five. What gives? It’s not as if Oprah is popular among men, with a feeble 39/40 favorable rating within that group compared to 57/27 among women. If she’s competitive with Trump among men, it’s probably a pure anti-Trump impulse unifying Democratic men behind her more so than a pro-Oprah one. And as it turns out, Oprah does nearly as well among Dems as Trump does among Republicans: She’s at 77/11 within her party while he’s at 81/11 within his. She leads overall partly because there are more Democrats in the sample (which isn’t unusual) and partly because of a double-digit lead among independents, 49/34. Which is exactly why some Dems like her as a potential candidate in 2020: If you’re a voter who’s not wedded to a particular ideology and maybe isn’t all that political to start with, Oprah is a brand that’s instantly recognizable.
Another interesting detail is the age gap. My guess would have been that young adults would be less pro-Oprah than older Americans because some of them don’t remember her show. And it turns out that’s true…
…but it’s also true that young adults are her strongest age group against Trump in a hypothetical match-up. Among the other three groups, she leads Trump by no more than six points; among the youngest group, she leads … 50/25. Consider that your daily reminder that young Americans are quite liberal and decidedly anti-Trump, willing to line up solidly against him behind a celebrity whom they don’t particularly like and may not even have memories of. (Alternate theory: Because young adults don’t remember Oprah The Celebrity as well as their elders, it may be easier for them to treat her more seriously as Oprah The Potential President.) Likewise, when asked whether they’d have Obama back as president or keep Trump, young adults preferred O far more strongly than any other group. They broke for him 57/27; the widest margin among any other age demographic was just 52/44.
Here’s Van Jones assuring an audience on Bravo last night that Winfrey would, um, win all 50 states. One other interesting (but non-Oprah-related) bit of data from PPP: They have Vladimir Putin’s favorability among Republicans down to 11/64, comparable to his rating among independents and waaaaay down from the ~35 percent rating he was pulling among GOPers in polls taken between December and February. As memories of the election fade and Russia becomes less of a friend and more of a challenge for Trump, replete with nuclear provocations, sentiment within his party has adjusted accordingly. The Putin bromance may have been just a fling.